The third major of the year is well underway, and the first wave of the 2014 British Open field is already through 18 holes of the tournament.
As there are in every major championship, we saw plenty of surprises on Thursday morning from Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. Some golfers fared better than expected; however, others weren't quite so fortunate.
Here's a look at the tournament's current leaderboard:
On a day that yielded some low scores, let's take a look at some early results and reactions from Round 1 of the British Open.
The weather was kind to the early wave of golfers, as precipitation held off and winds were at a minimum. McIlroy took advantage, and he is the early leader of the tournament after a brilliant six-under 66 on Thursday.
It's a feat to play a flawless round of golf at any tournament, but doing so at a major is simply impressive. That's exactly what McIlroy did on Thursday, recording six birdies and 12 pars en route to his stellar start.
McIlroy's ball striking was on point, which was a big reason for his low round on Day 1. Here's a look at a great approach to the par-four second which led to his first birdie of the day:
This certainly isn't uncharted territory for McIlroy, as he's been in this position before. PGA Tour Media broke it down:
Should it hold, R. McIlroy will take the 18-hole lead for the 10th time on TOUR. '11 U.S. Open and '12 BMW Championship ended in victory.— PGA TOUR Media (@PGATOURmedia) July 17, 2014
The one question that will circulate involving McIlroy heading into Day 2 is his scoring average. He's been great this year on Thursday, but Friday has been his Achilles' heel.
Golf Central tweeted a graphic that sums it up:
A look at Rory McIlroy's worldwide scoring by round in 2014. pic.twitter.com/SzXzfZt7Pv— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) July 11, 2014
We'll see if he can continue his hot streak on Day 2.
Woods garnered plenty of attention leading up to the tournament—and rightfully so. The Open Championship marks his return to major play, and he's aiming to make it a triumphant one.
Well, he got off to a great start on Thursday, posting a three-under 63 to enter the clubhouse with an early top-10 position.
Early in his round, Woods seemed shaky. After beginning the day with two straight bogeys, it appeared as though he wasn't quite ready to take on Royal Liverpool. Although, he turned things around quickly.
After a birdie on the par-five fifth hole, Woods was able to get back to just one over through nine holes. He surged on the back nine, recording five birdies and one bogey to finish with a flourish—a four-under 33.
Woods was rolling the ball nicely on Thursday. Here's a look at a nice 25-foot birdie putt on the par-four 11th that got his back nine off to a fast start:
After another birdie on the 12th, Woods struck again on the par-three 13th with this gorgeous tee shot to about 10 feet:
SportsCenter let it be known that Tiger was within two strokes of the lead at one point during his back nine:
Tiger with a 3rd straight birdie on the back 9 to move to -2. Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk among the leaders at -4.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 17, 2014
Although, it wasn't smooth sledding for Woods throughout his round. ESPN's Trey Wingo noted the golfer was getting some lucky bounces. One such bounce happened to come off the face of one of the course's marshals:
Tiger getting all the members bounces today..including one of the marshals face on 17.. playing 18 two back of the lead on the par 5— trey wingo (@wingoz) July 17, 2014
Regardless, Woods is in great position heading into Friday's action. Will he keep it up, or will his lack of recent competitive golf hinder his impending round? Stay tuned.
Spieth always seems to find himself in the mix in major tournaments. Well, at least that's been the case in 2014.
After a Round 1 performance that saw Spieth finish with a one-under 71, he's just five strokes off the early lead.
It was a bit of a roller-coaster round for the 20-year-old phenom on Thursday. He began with birdies at the third and fourth holes but then gave those strokes right back with bogeys at the fifth and sixth.
After a birdie to start his second nine, followed by five straight pars, Spieth birdied the par-five 16th only to give the stroke right back with a bogey on the following hole. A par on the 18th hole saw his round end at one under.
This performance didn't quite resemble his early flawless play in other majors this year—most notably at the Masters—but it was enough to keep him in contention.
Spieth wasn't exactly the epitome of accuracy on Thursday, as Golf Digest noted:
Somehow, Jordan Spieth is still even par... He's found a pot bunker or tall grass on every hole (it seems). #TheOpen2014— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) July 17, 2014
Fox Sports Live weighed in as well:
At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Jordan Spieth had sand in his shoes. #TheOpen2014— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) July 17, 2014
If he can clean up his ball striking going forward, expect to see Spieth well in the mix heading into the weekend.